Gingerbread out the Ears

Happy Day After Christmas!

For the next few weeks I’ll be in a state of depression because the world that has been so beautiful and sparkly will return to it’s normal, unadorned state.

Our Christmas weekend was fantastic with lots of family time, gluten free cookies, and general festivities.  And considerable drama trying to get Aaron his Christmas present after Nordstrom shipped him a size 10 black dress.

On Saturday we had some friends over for a Gingerbread House decorating party, and I was amazed at some of the creative structures that can be formed with graham crackers and frosting.  I’m not sure why we aren’t all architects  (for the record, one of our friends is actually an architect).

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AND…

I finally finished my own gingerbread house!  After an inspiration photo, a sketch, a scaled drawing on graph paper, a 3-D prototype, lots of gingerbread, royal icing, sugar, fondant, food coloring, chocolate, (an exploded Pyrex glass, but NO fire this year!!! and as I’m typing this, there is a segment on The Today Show about exploding Pyrex.  WHAT ARE THE ODDS?), and weeks of countless hours spent baking and decorating….

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…the finished product is done and ready to decorate the kitchen until at least July! Thanks for all of your sweet comments! Everything on here is 100% edible (though…ewe) and made from scratch.

While my gingerbread project does cause self-induced stress, kitchen disasters, and usually a fire or two, seeing everything put together makes me extraordinarily happy, and it really is one of my favorite parts of the holidays!

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IMG_5633I hope Santa was good to you, and I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

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WINNER! And (Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Random.orgCongratulations, Emily! I’ll be emailing you later today, and I hope you enjoy your North Beach Sunglasses from The Sunglasses Shop! And thanks so much for everyone who entered!

Project Gingerbread House hit a bit of a bump yesterday while I was heating sugar for the windows.  I do this every year (one year I set the microwave on fire because I put the sugar in a METAL cup), and I’ve gotten good at the process, but as best as I can tell, I probably caused a crack in the glass when I rinsed it out right after it was super hot (extreme change in temperature), so the next time I put it in the microwave, it shattered because the glass was compromised.

Sometimes it helps to know science! (I don’t know science).

BUT, this is what the windows look like when finished! What’s a little fire or shattered glass when we’re talking Christmas joy?

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Oh, and I take back everything I said about making swimming progress.  I couldn’t even get my head underwater in the pool yesterday without hyperventilating.  So, it’s looking more and more like doggie paddle for me! If you ever thought I was afraid of looking like an idiot in front of a bunch of people (then you probably haven’t met me?), this should prove you wrong!

Happy Wednesday!

Joining the Ranks of “Unmotivated” Runners

FIRST: I want to give frantic spirit fingers toward Jen who is running (floating down?) her first marathon this weekend! In a year of some sort of terrible marathon curse, it looks like some crazy phenomenon called an atmospheric river is supposed to occur right above her race.  All I know is that the Today Show peeps are broadcasting from San Francisco and they look drenched.

Also, remember to enter my sunglasses giveaway! Giuseppe thinks these would look great on you!

Also, The Sunglasses Shop is running a 25% off designer brand sale right now, so if you are looking for a pair of sunglasses for yourself or for a present, this would be a great time to buy! They have all the details on the website.  When you’re buying a $250 pair of sunglasses, 25% off is a significant amount.

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I’ve been noticing around blog land that everyone is severely unmotivated this week.

I’m afraid I’m one of those people. I haven’t felt like running.  And when I have run, I’ve felt really clumsy and awkward like I don’t know how to use my legs, and I haven’t felt fast or energized.

Thing is, this happened to me last year too.  But I thought that because I’m so much more of a “runner” now, I would stay motivated, and since I’m all about accomplishing crazy goals, that I would be completely committed to this training cycle.

But I’m not.  And Aaron really isn’t. So, we’re a lazy bunch between the two of us.  I also haven’t been to the pool since that breakthrough session last week where I kinda was able to put my head underwater for longer than a fast dip.

It has turned into a vicious cycle.  I come home, decide that fried food/cheesy food sounds better than running, gorge, get food coma, fall asleep on the couch, and wake up pretty depressed about the whole thing. We skipped THREE workouts this week.

I’ve decided that it is some biological/instinctual hibernation mode thing, and it has nothing to do with us! Right?!

AT LEAST progress is being made on the Gingerbread House Project! All the baking is done!

Also, sidenote:, the other night we were running around our neighborhood, and two cop cars turned the corner and turned off their lights like they were trying to sneak up on someone.  We were wondering if it was us?

Because we usually run at night and as far as I can tell we’re the only runners within a 3-4 block radius, I wonder if sometimes people see two people sprinting down the street and think we must be burglars.  I mean, no one in their right mind would be outside exercising, especially now that it gets pretty cold once the sun goes down.

I would not be surprised if one of these days we get tackled down in a citizens arrest attempt.

Fun.

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

Eve of Christmas Eve! (And a Completed Gingerbread House)

In the word’s of one of my favorite literary heroines, Eloise, “It’s the Eve of Christmas Eve!”

I discovered this year that The Plaza Hotel unveiled their Eloise tree, designed by the Queen of whimsy, Betsey Johnson.  AMAZING!

In other news, I finished my Gingerbread house this morning! This will mark the first year since 2007 that I actually followed through the whole project.  Aaron will be happy that no miscellaneous gingerbread parts will be laying around the kitchen until April.  He’ll get a fully constructed house instead!

I baked and constructed and frosted and decorated, and ate a lot of raw gingerbread dough (and fondant) along the way.

I kept taking pictures of the progress, afraid that I would come home from work to find it collapsed and lost forever and we’d have another year of an unfinished product.

But, after 6 days of waking up at 5:30 a.m. to work on it, working on it during my lunch hour (and returning to work covered in flour), and spending every waking hour since Saturday morning working on it, I am finally finished!

Now I have to go be a good little elf and clean/bake non-gingerbread things/cook/shop/wrap presents/frolic (run) in the snow/sing Christmas songs loudly to spread Christmas cheer/and of course get the obligatory Christmas mani/pedi!

Only 2 days until Christmas!

(Is everyone else this excited?!?!)

 

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Can you believe it?

In one week from now, the Christmas parties will be over, the presents will be opened, the cookies will have been eaten, and the magic, engery, and excitement will be fading.  I’m trying really hard not to think about it because it makes me sad.

So until then, I plan to cram as much Holiday Cheer as possible into my hours.

We’ve made our wine stop at our favorite winery, Casa Rodena, which was decorated for Christmas!

My house is finally all decorated.

The Christmas shopping is *almost* done.  I only have 1 more thing left to buy. Aaron on the other hand hasn’t even started…. (typical).

The Christmas cards have been sent.  And thanks to my mom the photographer, and Minted the amazing photo card design company, they are looking quite spiffy I must say.

Project Gingerbread house is on schedule to be finished by Friday evening.

Now all I have to do is wrap presents, and watch Love Actually/It’s a Wonderful Life/Miracle on 34th Street/Home  Alone/Eloise at Christmastime/The Polar Express/How the Grinch Stole Christmas/The Christmas Story.  In fact, the only Christmas movies I’ve watched this year (aside from the Hallmark Channel/Lifetime ones) is Home Alone 2: Lost in New York and The Holiday.  I have a lot of  catching up to do.

And baking.  My goal is to make 2 varieties of cookies and 1 batch of cupcakes by Saturday. Sometime, in between work, sleeping, half marathon training, finishing my gingerbread house, cleaning the house, hosting some friends for a gathering, prepping some food for said gathering, wrapping, and helping Aaron with his gift purchases, I will do the baking!

Christmas music will be played non-stop unless a Christmas movie is on. Here’s to a very Christmas 7 days left of Christmastime!